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Council Tax Reduction - if you’re temporarily away from home

This advice applies to England

To be entitled to Council Tax Reduction (CTR), you usually have to be living in your home. If you’re a pensioner, you’re allowed to spend certain periods away from your home for certain reasons, and continue to get CTR.

This page tells you about when you can continue getting CTR if you’re a pensioner and you’re away from home and how long you can get it for.

If you’re away for up to 13 weeks

If you’re a pensioner, you may be able to continue getting CTR for up to 13 weeks if you’re temporarily away from home. You must meet all the following conditions:

  • you intend to return home
  • you’re not letting, or sub-letting your home while you’re away
  • you’re unlikely to be away for more than 13 weeks
  • you’re not planning to be away from England, Scotland or Wales for longer than 4 weeks during this time (or 8 weeks if your reason for being away is related to a close family bereavement).

You must tell your local authority if you’re going to be away from England, Scotland or Wales for longer than 4 weeks.

If you’re away for up to 52 weeks

There are some circumstances where, if you’re a pensioner, you’re allowed to continue getting CTR for up to 52 weeks if you’re temporarily away from home. This will apply to you if you’re:

  • a remand prisoner awaiting trial or sentence
  • required as a condition of bail to live in a bail hostel, or away from home
  • a patient in a hospital or similar institution
  • undergoing medical treatment or convalescence, somewhere other than in residential accommodation
  • your partner or dependent child is undergoing medical treatment or convalescence, somewhere other than in residential accommodation
  • on an approved training course
  • providing medically approved care for someone
  • caring for a child whose parent or guardian is away receiving medical treatment
  • receiving medical care, somewhere other than in residential accommodation
  • in a residential care home, but not on a trial basis
  • a student
  • someone who has left home because of fear of violence in the home, or from a former family member.

As well as being in one of these situations, you must also meet all the following conditions:

  • you intend to return home
  • you’re not letting, or sub-letting your home while you’re away
  • you’re unlikely to be away for more than 52 weeks – or in exceptional circumstances, not substantially longer than that
  • you’re not planning to be away from England, Scotland or Wales for longer than 4 weeks during this time (or 8 weeks if your reason for being away is related to a close family bereavement).

If you’re staying in a care home on a trial basis

If you’re a pensioner, you can continue getting CTR if you go into a residential care home on a trial basis, under certain circumstances.

You can continue getting CTR for up to 13 weeks, as long as this isn’t part of a longer period of being away from home of more than 52 weeks. You must also meet the following conditions:

  • you are in the residential care home for a trial period to see if it suits your needs
  • you intend to return home if the residential care home doesn’t suit you
  • you have not let or sub-let your home while you’re away.

What if you need to be away from home for some other reason?

If you need to be away from home for a reason or a period of time not covered by the rules, it might be worth thinking about whether someone else living in your property could apply for CTR instead of you.

What are the rules if you’re not a pensioner?

If you're not a pensioner, your local authority can make its own rules about when you can continue getting CTR if you’re away from home.

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